Egils Levits
Melnās kafijas vakars 2019. gada 30. novembrī. Foto autors: Ilmārs Znotiņš, Valsts prezidenta kanceleja.

Honourable Minister of Defence!

Honourable Commander of the National Armed Forces!

Cadets, officers, ladies and gentlemen!

Exactly 103 years ago, the first cadets of the Military School returned from the battlefield after defeating the Bermondt troops. A decisive victory had been won. A new life opened up for them in Latvia, which they won themselves.

After a few months, Latvia was completely liberated from the invaders, and the young cadets could return to their interrupted training and continue to perform their duties. It was an inspiring time, when hope alternated with the pain of loss. Because the closest brothers in arms - the 14 young men with whom they celebrated life and youth together – lost their lives in the heavy battles against Bermondtians. They fell for Latvia, for the freedom and ideals of our nation. An independent and sovereign Latvia was the high goal to which they sacrificed their lives.

On the evening of November 30, we traditionally honour the 14 cadets of the Latvian Military School who fell for their country in the 1919 War of Independence at the Daugava bridges and Vareli houses. We remain faithful to this tradition, because the nation and the state remember those who died for Latvia and honour the memory of these young people.

Today's generations have inherited once liberated Latvia. It is now our responsibility to defend, protect and develop Latvia. We call out the names of these fallen men, symbolically throwing a bridge to today's world and to a free, democratic Latvia. Anyone who chooses to put their life on the line to protect their homeland deserves the deepest respect of the nation. Every life lost on the battlefield or in the line of duty is a tragic loss for the entire Latvian nation. Therefore, tonight we will remember and commemorate 2nd year cadet Jana Vilcāne, who passed away in July while performing service duties.

There is rye bread, marmalade and coffee on the table. The same treat was enjoyed 103 years ago by young cadets who just have gained a hard combat experience. Black coffee soiree unites us in a shared conviction and sense of duty with the heroes of the War of Independence. The achievements of our predecessors inspire us, we can draw strength from them, and the future young officers learn from them.

Heroes live forever in the people’s hearts. Let us defend our Fatherland with the same determination as our heroes.

Congratulations on the tradition of Black coffee soiree!

Let us pay tribute to cadets who gave their lives for Latvia!

Let us strengthen the security of our country together!

The address was delivered by Jānis Kažociņš, National Security Adviser to the President of Latvia.